Nature’s newest beauty ingredient- Seahorse plankton

[UK] Jo-Anne Chidley opened the first Beauty Kitchen in Glasgow to create 100% effective, natural, everyday luxury beauty products- the majority of which are vegan. We caught up with her to talk about the need for applying the ‘you are what you eat’ mentality to what you put on your skin.

Some of your range contains seahorse plankton- so what is it exactly?

I’m always searching for new effective, 100% sustainable, ingredients and the plankton microalgae are as magical as the Seahorses that eat it. Microalgae are the lungs of the earth,  producing 50% of the oxygen that we breathe, and it also has a unique ability to protect itself from environmental stresses, making it the perfect skincare ingredient. Seahorse Plankton is a specific type of microalgae grown in carbon neutral photobioreactors.

What are the benefits of using Seahorse plankton on the skin?

Seahorse Plankton microalgae is very high in Omega 3, Omega 6, Carotenoids and Plant Sterols and is scientifically proven to increase collagen synthesis and elastin fibres, plump skin, protect against environmental stress and calm skin irritations. We’ve powered up the microalgae with the addition of essential oils and a marine extract that includes seaweed harvested by me.

How did you discover its healing properties?

Firstly, I use every single product Beauty Kitchen product throughout the research and development process and then we get other customers to try it, do any scientific trials that are required. With Seahorse Plankton we knew that microalgae was a very magical ingredient before we started but even I was amazed by the results on all skin types and tones and the customer reviews and letters that we receive almost daily. From customers endorsing the fact that our natural BB cream works on any skin tone to customers with problem skin sending us before and after pictures from just a few days of using the products.

How do your products support the Seahorse trust?

We are working closely with the Seahorse Trust by donating 1% of our sales to them and by raising the awareness of the plight of these endangered magical creatures in everything that we do. Later this year we will be working with Holland & Barrett to raise 1 million Rewards for Life points that will save around 100,000 seahorses as well as giving away 5,000 seahorse adoption packs to help drive new members to the trust.

Why is it important to you not to test your products on animals?

These is no need to test products on animals, ever. Modern biotech testing of ingredients along with consumer product testing is much more expensive but gives the same efficacy data that we and every other company needs.

What are the pros of using essential oils in beauty products?

The science of the benefits of essential oils are two-fold because, unlike synthetic fragrance, they are 100% natural and have a very small molecule size. When you smell an essential oil that you like it instantly has a positive neurological effect. Secondly, when you apply essential oils to the skin they absorb into the blood stream within 20 minutes so their skin and wellbeing benefits are almost instant.

Please tell us about setting up the Beauty Kitchen and what inspired you to create the products in the first place?

Beauty Kitchen started through my own search for natural products. I was shocked to find that products were not as natural as they would like to appear and those that were natural were either not effective, expensive or just plain boring! So, I found industry experts to help me and started Beauty Kitchen to make 100% effective, 100% natural everyday luxury products with a sprinkle of fun and a big dollop of transparency! My overall goal is to get more people to buy natural products, not because they think they should, but because they really work.

Why do natural products work more than synthetic ones?

Synthetic ingredients and natural ingredients both work but my view is that because of this there is no need to put synthetic ingredients onto your skin. Natural science and ingredient biochemistry is moving forward rapidly so that anything a synthetic ingredient can do a natural one can. Plus we all know that you are what you eat and your skin should be treated in the same way.

Why do you think companies get away with labelling their products as ‘natural’- when this isn’t necessarily the case?

This is the big problem! There is no legislation to protect consumers from being misled, which companies use to their advantage. A shampoo containing 0.2% Organic Lavender can be called “Organic Lavender Shampoo”, which most consumers read as being natural, whilst the other 98.8% may be synthetic. When a consumer reads an ingredient list they find it very difficult to decipher what is natural and what is not.

That’s why our view is that only 100% natural is good enough.

Of all the products you make, which are your go to ones and why?

So many to choose from but here are a few:

  • Abyssinian Oil Aroma Facial Concentrate – Abyssinian oil is just give amazing glowing moisturisation for all skin types, even the most sensitive problem skin because its chemical composition is very similar to the skins own natural oils.
  • Seahorse Plankton BB Cream – not only does it contain our microalgae to give long term skin benefits it contains natural mica powder that reflects the light to ensure an even skin tone on any colour of skin.
  • Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge – everyone should have one of these, they are just incredible for gentle everyday cleansing and exfoliation to keep your skin in tip top condition. You can use it on its own or with your normal cleanser.
  • Inspire Me Hand & Body Lotion – I just love the fresh and uplifting smell and the fact that is glides on and is absorbed instantly leaving my skin soft, bright and toned. It’s great in the spring and summer when I get my legs out!


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